OZ Cabbie October 2014
To suggest that taxi networks, operators and bailee drivers could ever team up to fight a common foe would have been unimaginable only a few months ago, but the threat from ridesharing app Uber, its brazen flaunting of the law and the authorities’ apparent impotence has seen members of the NSW Taxi Drivers Association, the Australian Taxi Drivers Association and the NSW Taxi Council band together to launch a “Stop Uber now” campaign in Sydney.
You can show your support for the campaign by picking up a green and gold ribbon from GM Cabs at Sydney Airport and Kizmet Workshop at 33 Burrows Road, Alexandria and fly it on the antenna of your taxi. If the organizers are in fact as organized as they should be, you should by now also be able to get them from your network and taxi base.
You can also show your support by attending a meeting at the Cyprus Club in Stanmore at noon on Wednesday 5 November. Key speakers include Taxi Council CEO Roy Wakelin-King, NSW TDA president Annie Turner and ATDA president Michael Jools.
To the taxi and hire car drivers who are still using Uber, be it Uber Taxi or Uber Black - Shame on you. You are supporting a corporate terrorist organisation, which will turn on you whenever it suits its purpose. To those cabbies who are moonlighting for UberX: you are traitors robbing your colleagues who drive legitimate taxis of their livelihood. Greed is not good!
A hire car operator, Russell Howarth, has come up with a rather ingenious way to bring media attention to the Uber scandal. Frustrated by the lack of action by the government and his peers, Russell, a former riot police officer in Britain, is making his own citizen’s arrest of UberX drivers and handing them over to police. Full story in Russell rattles Uber with citizen’s arrests of its UberX drivers.
Tim Hoi is amazed that there are still people who want to become cab operators and are prepared to spend $60,000 or more for the privilege. Not only is the market flooded with taxis as you know, but UberX is already starting to have an impact on our takings and it’s growing fast. Since 1 July more than 350 new licences have been sold in both Sydney and Melbourne by the state governments. Doesn’t seem like a sensible decision to invest that kind of money in an industry under extreme pressure. Read Tim’s article: It never ceases to amaze me how many truly foolish people this industry can still attract.
One thing to remember is that the two apps ingogo and goCatch only provide jobs to taxi drivers. This is a position they both have maintained since they started out in 2011. The emergence of Uber and in particular UberX is as much a threat to them as it is to you. To succeed startups need to raise capital. Raising venture capital in Australia is not easy at the best of times, but facing competition from a global giant like Uber Technologies makes it even more difficult. It is therefore impressive that ingogo has recently raised an additional $9.1 million and goCatch $4.5 million in new funding. More in Investors place new $9.1 million bet that ingogo will beat Uber.
In NSW the annual taxi fare and plate review is on again. IPART has launched an issue paper and has again engaged the Centre for International Economics, a highly respected independent research organization, to provide up-to-date information based on interviews and submissions from drivers and operators, on incomes and costs. It conducted similar research in 2011 and the results I’m told took IPART by surprise. If you are approached by any of their people it is worthwhile talking to them. Their final report is expected before the end of the year.
Well, that’s all for now. Running late again. If you are driving in Sydney make sure you are flying the green and gold ribbon. You are a professional driver, a status worth protecting.